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Twill's picture
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AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

Hi,

I’m looking to buy my first pair of headphones that don’t come free with something.

I’m looking at the AKG K551s, since you can pick them up for as little as £99 now, and if they sound as good as their predecessors, the K550s, that seems like a good deal.

Although it’s not essential, quite like the idea of the 3-button remote for iPhone so that I can navigate tracks without breaking concentration. iPhone will be the primary source, for casual listening after the family have gone to bed.

Budget is £100-130ish.

I’m working on an assumption that form factor can influence the sound a headphone is able to reproduce. I really like B&W products, and you can pick the P3’s up recertified for £130, which would bring them within budget, but I’m guessing that, even if they’re a good pair of cans, their smaller form factor will colour the sound quality comparative to the AKG K551s. any thoughts on this angle specifically?

Any other recommendations in this price point?

Primary use is at home, so portability isn’t a major concern.

Thanks.

Ryanr1987's picture
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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

Heya

 

The K551 sounds a bit inferior to the K550. I'm not sure why but they changed the cable and stuck on a lower grade one. The K551 didn't have the same clarity and sounded a bit cloudy in comparison to the K550. The K550 was ok, it was a bit too lean sounding for my taste and didn't have a very musical sound to my ears. Both have a medium sized soundstage for a closed headphone due to the thin nature of their sound signature.

at that price point it depends what you want out of a headphone and your music taste.

I like the DT770. It's fairly balanced but with monster bass and the best soundstage I've heard in a closed headphone and the best positional ques in any headphone i've heard south of the HD800 so if you are a gamer then these are a must! they are musical, exciting spacious and good detail. Their faults are they have a syrpy sound to them which is slight but it was there to my ears. They are better then the K550 IMO just because they are fuller and have a better soundstage and better positional accuracy with a better bass and treble! oh and it's the most durable headphone along with the Ultrasone Pro 900

The K550 wins slightly on detail just because it's thinner sounding and it has a bit more forward mid range.

If you want better you'd have to look at some of the Modded T50RP's and the Denon AH-D600 but even then it's close to a side grade because the DT770 are that damn good!

 

The P3 are meh! P5 meh! and P7 are decent.

Let us know your needs such as

Do you Game

Music taste

and i'll fire some more suggestions!

 

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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

Thanks for the response. I don't game, and I'm not a monster boom fan, preferring a tight focussed lower end. Musically I listen to rock/alt/prog. Classic Hendrix & Led Zep, 90s American grunge and Radiohead, then more in to Arcade Fire, The National, Fleet Foxes etc. Guitar music basically. Then also quieter acoustic stuff like eliot Smith, Bright Eyes, and Sufjan Stevens, trad jazz, and the odd bit of classical. Most things really, not that much electronica.

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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

Look into these

Skull Candy Aviator

Brainwavz HM5

Shure SRH 840

Grado SR60i with G cush pads

Audio Technica ATH900X

Fostex T50RP (When modded can be amazing and compete with flagship stuff)

Audio Technica ATH M50X

Ultimate ears UE6000

All are efficent and range from £60-£130

DT770 but these listed are a bit more efficent with less power on the low end but I still rank them the best choice along with the ATH900X

 

 

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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

Also consider the Sennheiser Momentum on ear and the Philips Fidelio M1, both of which will pair well with a portable player.

Twill's picture
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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

Thanks both.

So no one's really a fan of the B&W P3's it would seem.

I know the Fidelio M1's seem seem to be very widely liked, but I really find it hard to take Philips seriously with their audio comeback. For so long they've just made kettles and TVs. It's just raw prejudice I guess.

Could the M1's be described as sounding a bit dull? That's the impression I get from the reviews.

Shame the AKG 551's seem to have their flaws, I guess that explains the £99 price, but initially they seemed to fit the bill the best.

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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

I've spent a little bit with the M1 they where ok nothing great. The B&W series are pretty lackluster. The P7 is probably the only one that soundsv competitive imo. 

 

You can try the K551 but I'd advise going for the 550 the build on the cable is much higher grade! I really don't know what they where thinking with the cable the jack is shocking. 

 

Have a look on amazon for some deals and see what you like the look of.

 

Twill's picture
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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

Thanks again.

One more thing, could a smartphone, like an iPhone, successfully drive a pair of old-school cans, like the Grados for example, without help?

Seeing as I'm not really looking for portability, the reported size, style-famine, and noise leakage with the Grados might not need to be a problem.

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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

I really the Grado SR60i It's efficent and sounds just as good as the more expensive prestige line. They run from an iphone easily and don't really need much aditional power at all. You can also get the L cush pads if you want a bit more low end.

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RE: AKG551 vs B&W P3, form factor advice

I would agree with Ryanr1987's opinion of the B&W P3s as a bit meh, but I disagree on the P5. I found them to be a great listening match for an iPhone. They are a little above your stated budget unfortunately, but it might be worth keeping an eye on eBay?  Sorry to not be of more help, but headphones are a very subjective thing. The best thing to do is go and listen to some different pairs at a decent dept store or HiFi shop. The B&W P3 might just be your thing completely.

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